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Wait. What? Did the Twins know this when they signed Simmons?

Seattle Mariners v Minnesota Twins Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images

I have written this and submitted it prior to yesterday’s doubleheader. Many of us might radically change our perceptions about this team (probably irrationally given that it’s only mid-April) one way or the other, depending on whether the Twins win or lose today’s games, and our opinions/worries probably won’t change so much, if they split.

I’m not worried, are you worried? Actually, I’m a little worried. The Red Sox seem to be a pretty good team, so losing to them is not the end of the end. Having said that, the Twins, like all teams (except the Dodgers perhaps) have some issues.

The hitting will come around when it warms up…I just made that up….never heard it before. The pitching will come around because….well…it just will. I actually did make that up, but it seems like something I often hear from baseball analysts far and wide, professional and otherwise.

As a fan, with zero input into roster moves, line-ups, etc….there’s only so much we can do, other than to hope for the best, and lament things we see as the worst. One lamentation, this week, is the positive Covid test for Simmons. One further lamentation, is what I read on Twinkie Town (so it must be true) this morning, that Simmons is an anti-vaxxer. While, politics is verboten here, stupidity should be verboten everywhere, and if true, his stance as an anti-vaxxer would be fine if one man were in fact an island, but unfortunately, he shares a locker room with some of our favorite people. His health, affects their health, and their health, affects my (and probably yours) mental health…to varying and sometimes, disturbing degrees.

I’m really hopeful that the vast majority (actually all) of Simmons’ teammates don’t share his beliefs about vaccinations. In fact, just as more baseball makes the world a better place (inarguable point); marginalizing those with anti-vaxx views would also, undoubtedly, make the world a better place. I appreciate that players (as all humans) should be able to express their opinions, but when those opinions run counter to science, well…then I worry. Will Simmons’ views spread to his teammates? More importantly, since he won’t get vaccinated, will his continued presence cause the Twins to have to continue this worry season-long?

Kyrie Irving famously suggested (perhaps still does) that the world is flat. While, I don’t share this belief, and think that it makes anything he might say deserve that as a starting point, believing nonsense, isn’t necessarily dangerous to the well-being of the team. But, believing that public health should be “privately” determined, could indeed be dangerous to the well-being of the team.

I don’t want to be chicken little, I’m not looking to stir a pot that doesn’t need stirring. Still, if covid does indeed become a factor in the Twins locker room….I’m looking at you, Simmons, and I’m not happy. And further, I’m looking at you Falvey and Levine, if you knew he wasn’t going to get the vaxx, and you were ok with that.

Perhaps every team has an anti-vaxxer, or even several, in their midst. How should MLB, and/or those specific teams deal with those folks? Since we are all in this together, and the Twins are a private company (and they certainly tell us they are when we want to see the books regarding profits and losses, and particularly when they seek taxpayer funding for a new stadium), then why wouldn’t the Twins require their players to follow science. Wash their hands, wear their masks, get their shots?

The bottom line: Did the Twins know about Simmons’ beliefs when they signed him, and how those beliefs might affect the health of the larger enterprise? If they did, did they do their due diligence, and the fact that he’s a great defensive (and so far, excellent offensive) player, outweigh their concerns, and given our mostly collective admiration for Falvey and Levine, I can certainly live with that. If they didn’t, and his beliefs came as a bit of a surprise to management perhaps hoping that all players would get vaccinated as soon as they could, lessening the risk of more time on the Covid list for one and/or all, then well…that’s not good.

So, what’s my point here? Should a player’s beliefs factor into whether the Twins sign him? My answer is simple, not generally. But when those beliefs might adversely affect the health and/or well-being of his teammates and all team personnel, then…and probably only then….the answer may very well be yes. These are unusual times. We are alive during a pandemic for God’s sakes....most of didn’t see that coming.

I’m open to criticism for my view on this and all things. I actually admire many MLB players whose play on the field was enough for me. The fact that their individual beliefs and/or politics may seem untenable to me, isn’t really relevant. We don’t have to vote in the same way. How they interact with their teammates, what presence they have in the locker room, that’s all vastly more important to me when I watch my favorite team. I trust that given the varying backgrounds of the players (this isn’t the PGA tour after all), that differing opinions and beliefs are quite rampant in at least some locker rooms. So be it. No criticism from me on that front. But, if a player holds beliefs that actually might impact the team as directly as not taking a vaccination might, well…shouldn’t we at least talk about it?

So, I guess I am worried.